People who don’t live in Somerset have been banned from visiting the county's 16 recycling sites.

Authorities in the West Country have introduced the waste tourism ban in a bid to deter a "rising tide" of visits from other counties, cut congestion, improve services and maintain safety.

They say the number of people using the recycling sites in Somerset has gone up 40% in five years, despite the population staying largely the same:

Visits to recycling sites in Somerset have increased from 1.1 million in 2010/11 to 1.6 million in 2015/16.

Under the new measures, vans and pick-ups will have to apply for a free permit only available to Somerset residents. Larger vehicles, including trailers towed by pick-ups and vans, will be banned altogether.

The Somerset Waste Partnership says it is following in the footsteps of neighbouring counties.

“Somerset is responding to residents’ demands on queues and site entry controls, and – unusually for us – catching up with other local authorities’ actions to improve waste services,” a spokesman says.

“All our neighbouring counties and many councils across the UK already have similar restrictions, either based on vehicle size or where customers live.”

A survey of residents in Somerset showed 87% are satisfied with the recycling sites, but most want controls or bans on large vehicles and visitors from outside the county.

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